Sotomayor was raised in the Bronx housing project and is the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants. An alum of Princeton University and Yale Law School, she was appointed to the federal district court in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush. Although Republicans held up her confirmation to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, she eventually passed the Senate and was appointed by President Bill Clinton.
In his announcement, President Obama noted Sotomayor’s “inspiring life story” and “distinguished career.” He also cited her varied judicial experience in his decision to nominate her to succeed retiring Justice David Souter. In response, Sotomayor said she is an “ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.”
After facing pressure to nominate a Hispanic and a woman to the bench, President Obama received praise for his decision from Rev. Al Sharpton, New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Democrats from Sotomayor’s home state. The decision shows the President’s commitment to diversifying the court.
The Senate has four months to complete confirmation hearings and proceedings before the Court begins in the fall term.